Realty Check: The Truth About Taxing The Rich

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS, (WCCO) — There’s no doubt Minnesota’s on the top 10 list for state income taxes.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s tax hike on Minnesota’s highest income earners may put Minnesota at number two, just behind Hawaii.

Dayton’s opponents are using numbers that are technically true, but not completely accurate.

“The top 5 percent already pay 41 percent of the income taxes in the state of Minnesota,” said Sen. Julianne Ortmann (R-Chanhassen) during a Senate tax debate Thursday.

That’s TRUE.

The 122,547 households in Minnesota earning $175,000 or more pay 41 percent of the income taxes in the state, according to the 2007 Tax Incidence Study from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

To put it in a larger context: Those households also earn 33 percent of all the income.

And if you take the top 10 percent of households — $124,000 or more — they pay 38 percent of income taxes, and make 43 percent of all the income.

But Republicans say those aren’t the only ones who get stuck with higher income taxes.

“The governor intends to tax every Minnesota taxpayer at 10.95 percent,” Ortman told the Senate. “The second highest rate in the nation.”

That’s FALSE.

Republicans say Dayton’s tax hike doesn’t account for inflation, which is true.

Republicans also say Dayton’s tax hike — which does not factor in inflation — will push everyone into the highest tax bracket.

A non-partisan Senate study on which it’s based doesn’t show that or anything like it.

That’s Reality Check.

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